Safe house helps abused women take back control
“TAKE a stand and put an end to the cycle of abuse,” is the message from CMR (Christelike Maatskaplike Raad) during this 16 days of activism.
They offer a safe house for female survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, crime and gender-based violence and provide a secure, therapeutic environment for restoration.
CMR’s chief social worker and office manager, Magdalena von Solms said: “Many women think there’s no way out and nowhere to go. They blame themselves and internalise the abuse and battle to see a way out. Victory House is a way to get away from the perpetrator and find restoration and help”.
Anne* spoke out about her experience of physical and emotional abuse – and transformation – after leaving the safe house in September, following her recovery there.
“He [her partner] took control of my life and took my money to spend on drugs. I felt sorry for him and that’s why I stayed with him. He made me feel like the worst person alive and constantly ridiculed me. I was ashamed of it and didn’t want to tell people about what he was doing.
“You can’t think straight in the web of deception and lies. You don’t know where it starts and ends and you become psychologically damaged. It is difficult to get out without professional help.”
She said that qualified pastoral therapist, Jeanien Marx, became her pillar of strength.
“She understood what I was going through and asked me questions that tested my faith. She started making me think and God worked through her and started cleansing me from top to toe,” Anne said.
“I went in feeling emotionally, physically, mentally, financially and morally drained and they gave me the water of life and now I feel rejuvenated. I have got some of my good qualities back that I thought I had lost over the period of abuse,” she said.
She has started her own business and is getting her life back on track. The team helped her identify her weaknesses, for example, the urge to contact her abuser, and she is now reluctant to use her cellphone.
“We aim at laying the foundation that will facilitate change in the life choices made by the women and ensure positive impact into the direction of their future,” Von Solms said.
Women are assisted to access medical care, legal assistance, therapeutic services, play therapy for children, practical skills training and group sessions enabling women to understand the cycle of abuse, learn about parenting, and concepts of dependency. “In the last six months, 19 victims of domestic violence and 11 children were accommodated and assisted with re-integration within the community,” Von Solms said.
Victory House is 56% funded by the Department of Social Development, but relies on the support of businesses and individuals to keep going. To contribute, contact (043) 722-6104. Women seeking help can contact CMR for support on the all-hours number – 063-397-1380.
Family members who recognise abuse can also contact CMR on (043) 721-2915 or visit their office at 9 Gordon Road, Southernwood.
* The person’s name has been changed to protect her identity.